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The Ultimate Cyberpunk is not in actuality the ultimate anything. It is a collection of some of the best short stories by the best cyberpunk authors, but only some of them. The ultimate bit is more marketing than anything else.
That said, The Ultimate Cyberpunk isa very good collection of short stories. Several of these ? notably ?The Girl Who Was Plugged In?, ?Dogfight?, and ?Burning Chrome? will strike a chord if you have not read them before.
Not all the stories in this book are relevant to the spheres of virtual and augmented reality. Some are far, far future, whimsical. However, they are still extremely good stories.
Fondly Farenheit ? Alfred Bester
Androids cannot kill. They are made that way. However, one may have been made wrong?
The Game of Rat and Dragon ? Cordwainer Smith
A far, far future. Interstellar travel is possible. Ships make the long, long jump between stars in a kind of otherspace. Aspace where something lurks, something hateful, called dragons?.
We can Remember it for You Wholesale ? Philip H. Dick
This is the story that became ?Total Recall?. As with most movie conversions, the book goes one way, the film quite another. However, there is more than enough overlap to see where the film came from, the story just, takes a different path?
The Girl Who Was Plugged In ? James Tiptree Jr.
The girl who was plugged in, is a refreshing, if tragic short story. It centres around the familiar if not often talked about concept of plugging the human brain into a computer, then using this computer/brain hybrid to control a different body.
Full review here
The 57th Franz Kafka ? Rudy Rucker
Franz Kafka is the heart of this story, a winding, diary entry based tale whose horrifying secret is woven day by day, and does not become clear until the very end?
Burning Chrome ? William Gibson
Two cowboy, freelance hackers looking to retire, pull off one last, big job. They use a Russian icebreaker and go toe to toe with Chrome, highly placed mob moll, and the glittering ice fortress of her cyberspace defences.
Blood Music ? Greg Bear
A brilliant, but obsessive compulsive scientist creates organic computers, microscopic cells that grow and learn faster than humans, and reorder the organism around them, to suit themselves. His lab try to shut him down, so he injects himself with a syringe full of them.
Till Human Voices Wake Us ? Lewis Shiner
A quaint little isolated island with it?s native population and ?small? marine research laboratory, is not as innocent as it first appears to be?
Freezone ? John Shirley
Freezone, a mighty raft afloat on the Atlantic Ocean, a place where anything goes, a true cyberpunk dystopia. Rick Rickenharp is a rock and roll player, a classicist, last of a dying breed. There is just no demand for his type of music any more. As he circles the drain, he is dragged sideways, elevated to political intrigue and?assassination?
Dogfight ? William Gibson and Michael Stanwick
The ultimate step in computer gaming ? planes willed into existence with sheer force of concentration, controlled by AR displays. In existence only as long as the mind concentrates, they dogfight for owner prestige.
Green Days in Brunei ? Bruce Sterling
Brunei, after the oil has run dry. A collapsing, inwards-looking failed nation state, with plans to re-enter the world markets, with robotic assembily, using bamboo, and paper.
Patterns ? Pat Cardigan
The dot patterns on TV, do they just relay information, or, if they are altered, can information from the source be altered, changed, perhaps destroyed?
Dr. Luther?s Assistant - Paul J. McAuley
The creation of a new species, anew race, cast aside and pursued, but evolving none the less. Stomped into the ground by human authorities, by the corrupt, sleezy Dr Luther, they still manage to survive and soar, through his assistant, a prisoner, a man tortured by his past...
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